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  • Dec 25, 2020

Season of Giving: Friday News Roundup

The 2019 Focal Point Art Book Fair at Bait Obaid Al Shamsi, Sharjah. Courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation.

On December 17, researchers Ali Essafi, Ridha Moumni, Gabriella Nugent, and the online, bilingual journal hākārā were named the four winners of Sharjah Art Foundation’s Focal Point Publishing Grant, which supports art historical research on global modernism in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia region. Ali Essafi will examine the North African tradition of the Halakat in the works of four filmmakers; Moumni studies the legacy of the School of Tunis (1943–1979); Gabriella Nugent is researching Egyptian artist Inji Efflatoun and her relationship with Mexican muralists including David Alfaro Siqueiros; and hākārā proposes the mapping of regional modernism in India in the form of a visual arts reader. The projects will be published by Sharjah Art Foundation and presented at future editions of the Focal Point Art Book Fair—the third iteration of which was held on December 16–19, 2019, in Sharjah.

Small-scale, local, and/or digital—those are the directions that art fairs have headed in the pandemic era. Turkey’s latest round of curfews and weekend lockdowns is no impediment to Contemporary Istanbul, which opened this week online and runs through January 6. Just after the New Year, a micro-fair of seven galleries, dubbed the Quarantine Art Fair, is happening January 7–10, outside of Melbourne in the Commanding Officer’s House and Grounds on the clifftop of Portsea’s Point Nepean National Park. The event includes Neon Parc and Station, and will be a scenic destination for a summer crowd. The Auckland Art Fair has announced the more than 30 galleries participating in its next edition later in the antipodean summer, on February 24–28, at The Cloud on the Auckland city waterfront.

For those of you vacationing on your sofa, starting December 25, you can stream Trinh T. Minh-ha’s film Surname Viet Given Name Nam (1989) from NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore’s online program. Kadist has an online version of the videos from its current exhibition at the Guangdong Times Museum, “Frequencies of Tradition” with works by Yoeri Guépin, Ayoung Kim, Ming Wong, Erika Tan, Ho Tzu Nyen, and Ashoke Chatterjee in collaboration with Alexander Keefe. And for those missing KTV lounges, M+ debuted Henry Chu’s online project called Canto Cocktail (2020), which uses an algorithm to generate Cantopop sing-alongs based on classic karaoke favorites, so can you sing along from the safety, and privacy, of your home.

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